Accutane Concerns

Posted by The claRx Content Team on Dec 18, 2019 7:45:39 PM
The claRx Content Team
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Accutane has become the standard solution to severe acne. As much as it is a useful treatment for patients who suffer from this skin condition, concerns and anxiety have continued to arise over the potential side-effects that might happen because of its use. These concerns are fueled by certain studies linking its use to many negative things, including depression and organ damage

We are going to address these concerns here by spelling out some of the rare yet very serious possible side effects of taking Accutane or Isotretinoin. We will also highlight how to avoid these risks through certain precautions.

Major side effects

As we have stated, most concerns arise over the possible risks of its use. It is worthwhile to note that these side effects can sometimes go away on their own. However, if they refuse to go away or continue to become a problem, you should get in touch with your doctor. 

These potential side effects are significant, and they include: 

  • Dry skin, mouth, eyes or nose
  • Red, sore and cracked lips
  • Nosebleeds
  • Peeling skin, usually on the soles and palms
  • Joint and muscle pain: If you intend to participate in any hard physical activity as you treat your acne with Accutane, make sure you inform your doctor. This is because it can lead to pain in your joints, bones, ligaments, and muscles. In addition, it can affect the growth of long bones in teenagers, and such effects may be permanent.
  • Temporary thinning of hair

More serious side effects

There are more serious potential side effects of using Accutane that can wreck long-term and permanent havoc on the body. Nevertheless, it is essential to know that these severe side effects manifest very rarely. Some of them include the following: 
  • Headache, chest pain, stomach pain
  • Vision issues
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Organ damage
Accutane could damage your internal organs, which is probably the most fear-inducing side effect possible. The organs that can be damaged include the liver, intestines, pancreas as well as the esophagus. The more disturbing thing is that once there is such damage, stopping to take Accutane won't reverse the effects. Nevertheless, the chances of this side effect appearing are very low. 
The following symptoms point to potential damage to the organ as a result of taking the substance:
  • Difficulty swallowing or sometimes pain when swallowing
  • Bleeding from the rectum; diarrhea
  • Yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes
  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine
Other serious side effects of Accutane are:
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty hearing or ringing in the ears
  • Painful or constant dryness of the eyes
  • Fainting
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
What are the precautions I can take to address these concerns?
Taking certain precautions will go a long way in preventing the potential side effects of taking Accutane.

Know your allergies

Before taking Accutane, try to be mindful of any allergy you have, especially if it is an allergy to drugs containing vitamin A. If so, make sure you inform your doctor or pharmacist about it. This is because the product tends to contain certain inactive ingredients like soybean and parabens that can give rise to allergic reactions or such other problems. In any case, the important thing is to talk to your pharmacist about it before you take Accutane.

Discuss your medical history with your pharmacist

If you intend to take Accutane, make sure you discuss your medical history with your doctor or pharmacist. This is especially important if you have certain conditions such as diabetes, a personal/family history of triglycerides (high blood fats), mental or mood issues like depression, liver disease, eating disorders, obesity, alcohol abuse, bone loss conditions, pancreatitis and a host of others.

Avoid blood donation

If you are taking the medication, you should avoid blood donation of any kind. You should also continue this for at least one month after you might have stopped taking it.

Limit your time in the sun

If you are taking this product, try to limit the amount of time you spend under the sun because it makes you more sensitive to it. As such, things like sunlamps, tanning booths, and the like should be avoided at all costs. You can also wear protective clothing and use sunscreen whenever you are outdoors.

Avoid night activities

Make sure you avoid any activity that requires clear vision in the dark if you are using the medication. This is because Accutane may affect your night vision. Therefore, you should neither drive nor do any such other activity in the dark until you are confident that you can perform them safely. Also, if you use contact lenses, you may struggle to tolerate them as you ordinarily should if you are taking Accutane.

Avoid cosmetic smoothening of skin and alcohol

If you are using Accutane, avoid skin-smoothening cosmetic procedures like laser, waxing, and dermabrasion until at least 6 months after the therapy. Failure to do this can scar your skin. In the same vein, stay away from alcohol if you are taking the medication as it may increase the risk of some severe side effects.

Stay away from contact sports

Although the evidence that reinforce this seems to be limited, it has been stated by certain studies that Accutane use can lead to specific bone loss effects. You should avoid repetitive impact sports such as soccer, tennis, and basketball that may bring about bone problems.

Discuss with your medical doctor

If you are young or old, talk to your doctor before you take the medication. Caution is advised when using Accutane in the elderly as they may be more sensitive to its effects on bones. The same thing goes for children who want to take the medication as they may be more sensitive to the joint and muscle pain that comes with its use.

Avoid use during pregnancy

It is suggested that the drug not be used by pregnant women or those that may become pregnant in the course of treatment. If you unexpectedly become pregnant during treatment, talk to your doctor about it as soon as possible.

If you would like to download this information in a format that might help you with your conversations with your patients then click here to download a free script on addressing Accutane concerns [Download Here]!

Topics: dermatology, review, prescription, help, medication, side effects